The goal of the Nazi Euthanasia Program was to kill people with mental and physical disabilities. In the Nazi view, this would cleanse the “Aryan” race of people considered genetically defective and a financial burden to society.
On November 9–10, 1938, Nazi leaders unleashed a series of pogroms against the Jewish population in Germany and recently incorporated territories. This event came to be called Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass) because of the shattered glass that littered the streets after the vandalism and destruction of Jewish-owned businesses, synagogues, and homes.
Adolf Hitler came to power with the goal of establishing a new racial order in Europe dominated by the German “master race.” This goal drove Nazi foreign policy, which aimed to: throw off the restrictions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles; incorporate territories with ethnic German populations into the Reich; acquire a vast new empire in Eastern Europe; form alliances; and, during the war, persuade other states to participate in the “final solution.”
Following his appointment as chancellor by President Paul von Hindenburg on January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler began laying the foundations of a Nazi state based on racist and authoritarian principles. In less than six months, Germany was transformed from a democratic state into a one-party Nazi dictatorship.
German women played a vital role in the Nazi movement, one which far exceeded the Nazi Party’s propaganda that a woman’s place was strictly in the home as mothers and child-bearers. Of the estimated forty million German women in the Reich, some thirteen million were active in Nazi Party organizations that furthered the regime’s goals of racial purity, imperial conquest, and global war.
National Socialism (Nazism) represented much more than a political movement. The Nazi leaders who came to power in January 1933 wanted more than just political authority. They wanted to change the cultural landscape: to promote what they considered to be traditional “German” and “Nordic” values, to remove Jewish, “foreign,” and “degenerate” influences, and to shape a racial community which aligned with Nazi ideals.
German policies varied from country to country, including direct, brutal occupation and reliance upon collaborating regimes. Until 1943, the German occupation regime took a relatively benign approach to Denmark.
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